The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has expressed displeasure with the federal government’s alleged silence on reccurring clashes between herdsmen and farmers in different parts of the country.
It flayed the federal government of refusing to evolve a nationwide transition programme for herdsmen to embrace ranching as a solution to the persistent clashes.
The group, at an extraordinary session with Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State in Markurdi, also urged the government to accept the socio-economic advocacy from southern Nigeria as a solution to the growing agitation for restructuring.
Emerging from the NEF’s session with Ortom yesterday, its spokesperson, Mr. Mustapha Wali, told reporters that the federal government “has failed in intervening in sorting out these matters nationwide”.
“All you hear are conferences and seminars of academics but the practical applicable and interventionist stage as it is happening now, is what should have been the case.
“Now that Benue has taken the bull by the horn as they say, we have to put a proposition for capital intensive possibilities for this transitional situations where the herdsmen are taught to ranch and to know that they are bitter times during transition and therefore, the federal government cannot avoid the responsibility of coming in to assist all the states and harmonize all these problems.
“It is in this respect as the convener (Dr. Paul Unongo) has stated, that we now intend to set-up a special intervention committee for the purposes of intervening in these kinds of situations, the transitional and legal situations to ensure there are no problems that will arise which are fully avoidable”.
On his part, Governor Ortom urged leaders in the region to speak up and find solution to the raging herdsmen/farmers conflict.
He said: “Our leaders have chosen to keep quiet and it is something that is to me a keg of gun-powder and we need to arise to our responsibilities as leaders to check this problem, the problem of herdsmen and farmers.
“Benue State in particular, was under siege since 2012, 13 local governments were completely displaced out of 23 local government, including my own local government.
“While serving as minister, my ancestral home was attacked and destroyed and that day alone, 53 of my people were murdered in cold blood, my farm was razed and destroyed.”